1994 in American television

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The following is a list of events affecting American television during 1994. Events listed include television series debuts, finales, cancellations, and channel initiations, closures and re-brandings, as well as information about controversies and disputes.


Date Event
January 18 The Peanuts special You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown is broadcast by NBC.
January 23 CBS, which had broadcast National Football League games since 1956, broadcasts its final telecast, with the Dallas Cowboys defeating the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, 38–21. CBS had been outbid during December 1993 for rights to the NFC package by the Fox Network. CBS, however, would regain NFL rights (taking over the AFC rights from NBC) in 1998.
January 31 Bill Cosby returned to NBC as a 2-hour movie, The Cosby Mysteries, after ending production of The Cosby Show for 21 months.
February 1 American pay television channel Encore initiates seven new themed multiplex channels (Westerns, True Stories, Love Stories, WAM!: America's Kidz Network, Action and Mystery), primarily on TCI cable systems, becoming the first premium service to offer themed premium services. Starz, which features more recent movie fare than its parent channel, is also initiated on this date as part of the Encore multiplex and would later become a rival to HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and The Movie Channel.
February 4 The Days of our Lives nighttime special Winter Heat is broadcast by NBC.
February 19 In an opening monologue on Saturday Night Live, guest host Martin Lawrence makes sexually explicit jokes about female genitalia and feminine hygiene, which results in NBC banning him from appearing on the network (for the next year) and SNL (for life). In repeats of the episode, the offending section of the monologue is replaced by a title card read by an off-screen player, saying that although SNL is neutral about the issues mentioned by Lawrence, network policy prevents his remarks from being re-broadcast, and that the incident almost cost the entire cast of SNL their jobs.
March 11 Viacom assumes control of Paramount Pictures, which includes Paramount Television. Later during the year Paramount/Viacom announces plans to initiate a new over-the-air television network, in conjunction with United Television. The new network, the United Paramount Network (or UPN for short), is initiated during January 1995.
March 31 Madonna appears on the Late Show with David Letterman and makes headlines for going on a profanity-laden tirade—one of the most censored events of American TV talk-show history, though it results in some of the highest ratings of Letterman's late-night career. (Robin Williams would later describe the segment as a "battle of wits with an unarmed woman.")
April 14 Turner Network Television debuted as a 24-hour classic movie channel, Turner Classic Movies.
April 24 Barney the Dinosaur makes his commercial network television debut in the NBC prime-time special program Bedtime with Barney: Imagination Island. However, the song "I Love You" wasn't sung in the special due to a lawsuit about the song at the time; this explains why "I Love You" wasn't used in Barney's Favorites Vol. 2, as it uses songs from the special.
April 28 The series The Simpsons broadcasts its 100th episode.
May 23 The series Star Trek: The Next Generation concludes its seven-year run with the series finale, All Good Things... The two-hour finale was broadcast at 6 p.m. on most affiliates, rather than as part of the prime time lineup.
June 1 FX begins broadcasting. This was first cable TV network to be owned by Fox.
First formal broadcast of Newsworld International.
June 10 The Pay television content descriptors, which describe the varying degrees of suggestive or explicit content in series and movies being broadcast by pay cable channels, are first implemented by HBO and Cinemax. Showtime and The Movie Channel will add the system a month later.
June 11 World Wrestling Federation wrestler Hulk Hogan signs a deal with World Championship Wrestling on a live broadcast of WCW Saturday Night.
June 17 With all major networks providing live coverage, former NFL player O. J. Simpson, suspected in the murder of his former wife and her acquaintance, flees from police with his friend Al Cowlings in his white Ford Bronco; the low-speed chase ends with Simpson's surrender to police at his Brentwood mansion.
DirecTV, a direct broadcast satellite service, begins broadcasting in Jackson, Mississippi.
July 4 The talk and information channel, America's Talking is debuted.
July 12 The 1994 Major League Baseball All-Star Game from Pittsburgh is broadcast by NBC (NBC's first Major League Baseball telecast since Game 5 of the 1989 National League Championship Series). The game is the first production of The Baseball Network, a joint venture between MLB, NBC, and ABC. Hampered by its much-criticized regional policy for game broadcasts and a players' strike that cancels the 1994 postseason, the venture will be termed a failure even before it dissolves at the end of the 1995 season.
August 7 The series The Simpsons is returned to its Sunday night lineup from the 1989-90 season.
August 12 The soap opera All My Children broadcasts a memorial episode for original cast member Frances Heflin, who died during June. The memorial is in the form of a funeral service for Heflin's character, Mona Kane Tyler.
Fox broadcasts its first National Football League broadcast, a pre-season game in San Francisco between the 49ers and Denver Broncos.
August 21 HBO broadcasts a concert appearance by Barbra Streisand, the entertainer's first public concert in 27 years.
September 1 The Independent Film Channel debuts.
September 11 The 46th Primetime Emmy Awards are given by ABC.
September 12 The first television stations involved in the 1994 United States broadcast TV realignment, as part of larger affiliation deal between Fox and New World Communications and change their network affiliation. WDAF-TV in Kansas City ends its 45-year affiliation with NBC and WJW-TV in Cleveland ends its longtime affiliation with CBS, with both stations becoming Fox affiliates. WDAF and WJW trade their former affiliations respectively with Fox affiliates KSHB-TV (which became an NBC affiliate) and WOIO (which became a CBS affiliate). While in Phoenix, KSAZ-TV (channel 10) ends its 40 year affiliation with CBS, and temporary becoming an independent station, 3 months before taking over the Fox affiliate, The CBS affiliation transfers to former independent station KPHO-TV (channel 5), while the ABC affiliation was relocated to former Fox outlet, KNXV-TV (channel 15), leaving the former ABC affiliate, KTVK (channel 3) forced becoming an independent (briefly before becoming a The WB affiliation 4 months later until KASW-TV (channel 61) assumed The WB affiliation which is signed on a year later.)
Original Family Feud host Richard Dawson returns to the series after nine years, replacing his successor, Ray Combs; the show also expands from half-hour to full-hour episodes.
October 31 The FX spin-off channel fxM: Movies from Fox debuts, broadcasting movies from the Fox library on a round-the-clock basis.
December 1 The Game Show Network, a network devoted to broadcasting classic game shows 24 hours a day, debuts.
Home & Garden Television debuts.
December 8 WITI in Milwaukee also ends its CBS affiliation after 37 years to become a Fox station, transferring the former CBS affiliation to former independent station WDJT (channel 58). WITI replaced WCGV-TV (channel 24) which is becoming independent again, brefly before affiliated with UPN a month later.
December 11 WJBK in Detroit and WAGA-TV in Atlanta end their longtime affiliations with CBS and switch their affiliations to Fox. WJBK and WAGA transfer their respective CBS affiliations to former independent stations WWJ-TV (then WGPR) and WGCL (then also WGNX); the Fox affiliates that WJBK and WAGA replace, WKBD and WATL which is also becoming independents only to become affiliated with UPN and The WB respectively one month later.
December 12 WTVT (channel 13) in St. Petersburg, Florida also end their longtime CBS affiliation and become a Fox affiliate. The CBS affiliation is received by the former ABC affiliate, WTSP-TV (channel 10) while the ABC affiliation transfers to former Fox affiliate, WFTS-TV (channel 28).


Debuting this year[edit]

Date Show Network
January 2 Viper NBC
January 6 Turning Point ABC
January 17 Leeza NBC
Rolonda Syndication
January 26 Babylon 5 PTEN
The Critic ABC
January 31 The Cosby Mysteries NBC
February 5 Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? Fox Kids
February 14 Trashed MTV
March 5 Duckman USA Network
March 7 Boggle The Family Channel
March 29 Ellen ABC
April 1 Sister, Sister
April 15 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Cartoon Network
April 22 Dennis Miller Live HBO
June 1 Breakfast Time FX
Under Scrutiny with Jane Wallace
Personal fX: The Collectibles Show
The Pet Department
Sound fX
June 13 Jumble The Family Channel
June 15 Dead at 21 MTV
June 27 Free 4 All USA Network
June 29 Models Inc. Fox
July 4 Politics with Chris Matthews America's Talking
August 14 Inside the Actors Studio Bravo
August 15 The Brothers Grunt MTV
August 25 My So Called Life ABC
August 26 M.A.N.T.I.S. Fox
September 1 The Head MTV
September 3 VR Troopers Syndication
September 4 Fortune Hunter Fox
Wild Oats
September 5 Aladdin: The Series Syndication
September 8 New York Undercover Fox
September 10 The Tick Fox Kids
September 11 The Boys Are Back CBS
September 12 The Magic School Bus PBS
Party of Five Fox
The New Price is Right Syndication
The Gordon Elliott Show
September 13 On Our Own ABC
September 14 All American Girl
September 15 Due South CBS
September 17 Beethoven
September 18 Chicago Hope
September 19 ER NBC
September 20 Me and the Boys ABC
September 21 Daddy's Girls CBS
Touched by an Angel
September 22 Friends NBC
September 24 Free Willy ABC
The 5 Mrs. Buchanans CBS
October 1 Wild C.A.T.s
October 8 The Secret World of Alex Mack Nickelodeon
October 15 My Brother and Me
October 24 Allegra's Window Nick Jr.
Gullah Gullah Island
October 29 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Nickelodeon
November 6 Earth 2 NBC
November 16 Essence of Emeril Food Network
November 19 Spider-Man Fox Kids
December 24 All That Nickelodeon

Ending this year[edit]

Date Show Debut
January 2 Doug 1991
January 9 Cadillacs and Dinosaurs 1993
January 23 The NFL on CBS 1956
January 30 CityKids 1993
February 8 Saved by the Bell: The College Years
March 6 Liquid Television 1991
May 19 In Living Color 1990
L.A. Law 1986
May 20 The Joan Rivers Show 1989
May 22 Rugrats 1991
May 23 Star Trek: The Next Generation 1987
May 27 The Arsenio Hall Show 1989
June 18 Getting By 1993
July 26 Dinosaurs 1991
August 28 America's Funniest People 1990
October 15 The Mickey Mouse Club 1989
October 22 Cro 1993
December 10 Garfield and Friends 1988
December 20 Romper Room 1953

Miniseries and movies[edit]


Date Name Notability
February 14 Paul Butcher Actor (Zoey 101)
February 23 Dakota Fanning Actress (Taken)
March 1 Justin Bieber Singer and actor (Saturday Night Live)
March 12 Tyler Patrick Jones Actor (Ghost Whisperer)
April 12 Saoirse Ronan Actress
May 4 Alexander Gould Actor (Weeds)
July 16 Mark Indelicato Actor (Ugly Betty)
October 9 Jodelle Ferland Actress (Kingdom Hospital)
December 3 Jake T. Austin Actor (Wizards of Waverly Place)
December 17 Nat Wolff Singer (The Naked Brothers Band)


Date Name Age Notability
January 1 Cesar Romero 87 Actor (The Joker on Batman)
January 8 Pat Buttram 78 Actor (Mr. Haney on Green Acres)
January 22 Telly Savalas 70 Actor (Theo Kojak on Kojak)
January 28 Hal Smith 78 Actor (Otis on The Andy Griffith Show)
February 11 William Conrad 74 Actor (Cannon, Jake and the Fatman, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show)
Sorrell Booke 64 Actor (Boss Hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard)
February 24 Dinah Shore 78 Singer and talk show hostess (Dinah!)
March 4 John Candy 44 Comedian and actor (SCTV)
March 21 Dack Rambo 53 Actor (Jack Ewing on Dallas)
March 22 Walter Lantz 95 Cartoonist, creator of Woody Woodpecker
April 2 Betty Furness 78 Consumer advocate and spokesperson (The Today Show)
April 5 Kurt Cobain 27 Singer, songwriter, musician (Saturday Night Live [1992/93])
April 18 Don Fedderson 81 Producer (My Three Sons)
April 22 Richard M. Nixon 37th President of the United States
May 8 George Peppard 66 Actor (Banacek, Hannibal on The A-Team)
June 1 Frances Heflin 74 Soap opera actress (All My Children)
June 7 Dennis Potter 59 Scriptwriter (The Singing Detective), Rudolph Cartier director
June 14 Henry Mancini 70 Composer ("Peter Gunn Theme")
July 7 Cameron Mitchell 87 Actor (Uncle Buck on The High Chaparral)
July 8 Dick Sargent 64 Actor (Darrin Stephens #2 on Bewitched)
August 21 Danitra Vance 60 Comedian (the first African-American woman regular on Saturday Night Live)
September 3 James T. Aubrey 76 Head of programming at CBS (1963–64)
September 16 Jack Dodson 63 Actor (The Andy Griffith Show)
October 2 Harriet Nelson 85 Singer and actress (The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet)
October 25 Mildred Natwick 89 Actress (The Snoop Sisters)
November 8 Michael O'Donoghue 54 Comedy writer (Saturday Night Live)
November 9 Priscilla Morrill 67 Character actress (Mrs. Vanderkellen on Newhart)
November 11 Pedro Zamora 22 HIV-positive participant of (The Real World)
November 30 Lionel Stander 86 Actor (Hart to Hart)
December 27 Fanny Craddock 85 Television cookery expert